young adult book reviews & more

The Muncher behind The Book Muncher is no longer a teen

Today is the day that I must change my bio. For 5 years, I've been a "prolific teen reader," but since today is my 20th birthday, I can no longer call myself a teen! It's sort of weird to think that after being a teen running a blog about teen books for so long, the label doesn't apply to me anymore.

But just because I'm no longer technically a teen doesn't mean that I will stop reading books about teens. The thought of doing that is almost unfathomable. We all know that young adult books aren't just for teens anymore; even if they are still the targeted age range, plenty of other people of different ages (like me, now!) enjoy YA, whether it's because they're still teens at heart, or because these are just the books that they enjoy reading. Since when did anyone ever need a reason to read a good book?

On this most auspicious of days (i.e. the official end of my teen years), I wanted to take a little time to reflect on why YA is so important to me. I mean, I have run a YA book blog for over 5 years, held a number of internships focusing on children's publishing, and aspire to be a young adult book editor. But what is it about this market or genre or whatever you want to call it that has made me want to dedicate my life to it?

My adolescent years certainly weren't terrible. I had good friends who shared similar interests, including reading YA books. I did well in high school and wasn't bullied. I didn't have issues with self esteem, substance abuse, or any serious physical illnesses. But every teen feels misunderstood at some point, and I was no different.

But isn't that part of what being a teen is? Feeling out of place and learning to find a place that's yours? Reading YA as a teen gave me perspective; while it didn't necessarily give me a true appreciation for how good I had it (that came later), it did allow me to better understand people. I honestly don't think I would be the person I am today had I not discovered YA books; without these stories, I wouldn't be as open-minded, conscientious, and thoughtful as I am now.

There's something magical about this time in life, so much opportunity for self-discovery, such a potential to change and grow. And I guess that's why, both in books and real life, I really love YA—why do you?

6 munch(es) :

Alex said...

Happy Birthday! This may be a big one, but doesn't mean yo have to change your reading habits or preferences. Keep up the good work!

Cheryl said...

Happy birthday. Hope you have a wonderful day.

Leigh Purtill said...

Happy, happy 20th!! To answer your question, I was much like you growing up. I never had to deal with a lot of the things teens in today's YA lit do (thank goodness). But I loved (and still do) losing myself in another person's life. When I read, I want to feel like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole and into another world that is not my own. YA lit showcases such a broad range of characters and worlds yet still feel relatable.

The Book Muncher said...

Thanks, all!

And Leigh, you've summed it up perfectly.

holdenj said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
holdenj said...

Happy happy birthday!

And as you may have guessed over the years, I am, ahem, older than you and happily read all kinds of YA books! They aren't just for kids anymore, that's for sure! I have certainly read my share along the way and like you, had a good enough life growing up and school wise. but always enjoyed retreating into those other worlds for a time.

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